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Hiring and Selection- Interviewing Best Practices

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					Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.




Overview

The best available method for overcoming potential
vulnerabilities in the interview process and for identifying
specific behavioral criteria for excellence, is a behaviorally-
anchored evaluation. In order to perform this type of
interview, you should use a model that describes objective
criteria of success for a specific job role (e.g., a success
template). In addition, an excellent hiring intervention
should focus on:


 • Traits and leadership skills that are most difficult to
   develop on the job through training and development
 • Those skills that are critical for top performance in
   a specific job category
                                                                                         Stephen C. Schoonover is
                                                                                         President of Schoonover
This method of hiring and selection helps interviewers                                   Associates, Inc., a Boston-based
                                                                                         leadership development
perform the most significant part of the screening by
                                                                                         consulting firm. Founded in 1983,
using an objective scoring procedure. The final selection                                the firm specializes in human
                                                                                         resource strategic consulting,
process relies on a scoring protocol (using specific
                                                                                         competency model-building, and
evidence of competent behavior generated during the                                      performance development
interview) and subsequent dialogue and testing of                                        systems.

interview data. This procedure helps overcome possible

                                                                                                                     1.
            P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                       www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.




errors or bias in the scoring process and                         data. A summary of principles that support
obligates the interviewer to base the final                       excellent hiring and selection are outlined
decision on specific competency-based                             in Figure 1.


                                                        Figure 1
            Hiring and Selection Interview: Best Practices and Principles

  ·   Focusing on objectively-defined success behaviors (i.e., job-specific competencies)

  ·   Focusing on ‘hard-to-learn’ attributes and ‘hit-the-ground-running’ management
      and/or technical skills (vs. a complete range of technical skills)


  ·   Using the 80-20 rule (e.g., interview for the ability to perform a few behaviors
      consistently)

  ·   Using a common tool and process (to ensure cross-interviewer consistency)

  ·   Asking mostly open-ended questions, followed by listening and encouraging (vs.
      talking and telling)

  ·   Gathering evidence about performance from real ‘success stories’ (not from
      opinion or hearsay)

  ·   Determining what an applicant actually did personally to achieve success (vs.
      what they think should be done, etc.)




Interview Structure and Format

In order to maximize the ability of an                            these goals, the interview itself should be
evaluator to discern the characteristics of                       structured so that dimensions are rated
best performers in a short time, the                              on a rating form and then a total score is
interview must be both simple to                                  generated by adding the separate
administer and specific in focus. To achieve                      dimension scores.


                                                                                                               2.
            P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                       www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.




The most common areas interviewees                              Interview Process
should be assessed against include:                             In order to complete an effective
                                                                behaviorally-anchored interview, the
   • Target behaviors such as leadership                        interviewer must be able to explain the
    and additional job or role-specific                         purpose of the interview succinctly and
    success criteria.                                           then efficiently move applicants through
                                                                a series of focused questions. In general,
   • Requisite technical skills (including                      the breakdown of the interview includes
    experience and contribution to real                         the steps outlined in Figure 2.
    ‘business’ related situations).


   • Recruiter impressions (including an
    evaluation of learning capacity, fit
    with the company's culture and
    general interviewee presence)


A hiring and selection tool should outline
behaviors critical for core competencies
and leadership levels. Use selected open-
ended questions to elicit evidence about
the behavioral targets that accompany
each competency area. These tools,
however, are only a starting point and
should be tailored to the job, your
interviewing style, and the overall needs
for your group (if multiple interviewers
are involved).


                                                                                                             3.
          P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                     www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.


                      Figure 2: Hiring and Selection Interview Steps

 1. Establish Rapport

  Why?        Candidates are less defensive and disclose more when they trust the interviewer;
           we have applied for several
One method establishing rapport demonstrates respect.
              creating and applying a                        sharing opinions/feelings; encourage
years entailsIntroduce yourself; provide a personal touch by by skillful listening
  How?
             candidate by creating a calm, quiet setting and
competency profile for board members.
 2. Introduce Interview Purpose and Scope
Competencies clarify the common
  Why?        Setting expectations results in better interview satisfaction and better focus on interview
              goals by candidates.
standards required for a person to succeed
  How?        Tell candidates the length, goals, and process of the interview; ask candidates if they
             have questions been used
in a given role. They haveor concerns.

 3. Conduct in virtually all other Applicant’s Wishes/Strengths
successfully General Discussion of areas of
corporate performance. Competency
  Why?        Asking about candidate’s job desires and his/her strengths helps increase comfort level
              and gets him/her talking; this step demonstrates interest.
profiles can be used to select new board
  How?        Ask candidates to spend a few minutes telling you what they want in a job and what
            assess directors for bring.
members, to unique attributes they strengths

 4. Probe for Experiences that Elicit ‘Target Success Factors’

  Why?        Probing for ‘stories’ is the best way to find out what someone actually does (and is
              capable of doing); eliciting objective evidence about behaviors is the best way to
              determine if someone can perform the behaviors most critical for success.
  How?        Start by asking the candidate to tell you a story about a recent challenge or success;
              then use a series of probe questions to focus on the most significant part of the story
              and what he/she actually did.

 5. Conduct Discussion of General Work Experience (If Not Previously Covered)

  Why?        Criteria other than competency behaviors can help discriminate which candidates will
              be most successful (e.g., technical skills/background).
  How?        Ask probe questions about targeted criteria.

 6. Summarize the Interview and Explain Next Steps

  Why?        Providing closure makes the interview process more satisfying; summarizing clarifies
              interviewer’s thoughts and candidate’s expectations.
  How?        Provide positive feedback about candidate’s participation; tell candidate what to expect
              next (e.g., other interviews, next contact, etc.).

 7. Rate Applicant and Compare Findings

  Why?        Capturing evidence immediately increases accuracy of evaluation; immediate rating
              increases inter-rater reliability.
  How?        Fill in the hiring and selection tool, noting whether candidate exhibited evidence of
              success factors and other job criteria, and rating your impressions of candidate to arrive
              at overall rating.

                                                                                                              4.
           P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                      www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.




The interviewer should tell applicants that                      of questioning to make the probing process
because of the time constraints, they will                       more effective. Interviewers should use
be asked a series of probe questions,                            the strategies in Figure 3 to ensure that
some before being allowed to provide all                         behavior evidence is elicited.
the evidence related to a particular area


                           Figure 3: Probing Strategies - 6 Key Steps

  · Pre-select and customize questions for competencies you are assessing.


  · Start the probing process with a general, open-ended question (e.g., what have you done to help
    your team be most effective?)


  · Narrow the area of inquiry by using questions focusing on the most significant data (e.g., Can
    you tell me what made the biggest impact? What was the most important part of the story?)


  · Ensure that you are surfacing high quality data by maintaining focus on the following kind of
    evidence:


     - Demonstrated behavior

     - Attributable to the person

     - Producing excellent performance (i.e., it has a significant impact)


  · Ensure that the interviewee has been given a fair chance to describe behavioral evidence by:



  · Explaining that you are looking for a full description of what made him/her successful.



  · Persisting in your exploration of an event until little or no more data emerges.


  · Correct for possible contextual or environmental factors by asking about barriers to performance
    or what the individual wished they had done differently to make more impact (and exactly how
    they could have acted differently).




                                                                                                              5.
           P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                      www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.




Summary

A hiring and selection tool (see Figure 4)
is an aid that helps interviewers focus on
key success criteria, compare findings
with others more effectively, and develop
more rigor in evaluating and ‘scoring’
candidates. To be effective, the tool must
be supported by excellent skills in
behaviorally-anchored interviewing. In
addition, interviewers must be sensitive
to various legal guidelines about the kind
of data sought in interviews. The guiding
principle is that specific information related
to ‘protected classes’ of individuals or to
‘personal activities or preferences’ that
are not related to specific job activities
should not be directly questioned.


If the principles and practices outlined
above are followed, you will have
significantly higher levels of success in
hiring and selection decisions. In addition,
using these tools and processes provides
an excellent opportunity to ‘sell’ the
company’s approach to performance
excellence, including tools that candidates
can use throughout their employment to
maximize their own performance.

                                                                                                              6.
           P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                      www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Interviewing Best Practices / Hiring and Selection
by Dr. Stephen C. Schoonover
President, Schoonover Associates, Inc.




     Figure 4: Example of Hiring and Selection Interview Questions in Tool

  Customer Focus
                                                                     Overall Rating:
  Responds to internal and external customer’s needs in
  a manner that provides added value and generates                   (N, 1-5)
  significant satisfaction.

  Planned Behavioral Questions:                                                           Behaviors:
  · Tell me about a time when you assessed the needs of another                          ·   Demonstrates a sense of
    person or group, such as customers. (What did you do?)                                   urgency when responding
                                                                                             to market/customer needs.
  · Describe a situation in which you were involved when a product or
    service did not match someone’s needs. (What was the outcome?)
                                                                                         · Ensures   that customer
  · Working closely with others to adapt project, products and services                      requirements are
    to their requirements is very important for success in today’s                           incorporated into day-to-
    business climate. When have you had to collaborate closely with                          day tasks and activities.
    someone to tailor or customize your approach? (What was the
    situation?)
                                                                                         · Develops    strategies/tactics
  · Describe a situation when your level of knowledge or expertise                           to anticipate and respond
                                                                                             to customer’s key needs
    about a particular product or service was key to helping someone.                        (internal and external).
    (e.g., partner, customer)

  · Tell me about a situation when you had to prioritize the needs of
    a particular person or group.

  · Tell me about a circumstance in which you had to repair a damaged
    relationship with someone. (What did you do?)

  · When have you been involved in a situation that made someone
    feel very satisfied? (What did you do?)

  · Surfacing perceptions is often critical for success. Tell me about a
    situation in which you probed to find out about a person or group’s
    issues and concerns.

  · Describe a circumstance in which you developed a close, trusting
    relationship with someone in order to get something done. (What
    was the situation? What did you do?)

        Situation/Task                            Actions Observed                            Results or Impact
  (enter description of situation       (enter specific observable behaviors                  (outline key outcomes
    and related tasks below)                 related to situation below)                     related to actions below)




                                                                                                                         7.
           P.O. Box 629, 359 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02541-0629 Voice: (508) 457-5800 Fax: (508) 457-5806
                      www.schoonover.com (c) 2002. Schoonover Associates Inc., All Rights Reserved.

				
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